Windows' Uninstall a Program dialog is a basic control panel applet that enables you to remove previously installed software or Windows updates from the operating system. It is one of those programs that has not seen improvements in a very long time. The core issue that many users have with it is that it is not very thorough when it comes to the uninstallation of programs.
It is quite common that leftovers remain on the system that waste disk space, may make it harder for you to find and manage stuff on the system, and sometimes even cause issues that go beyond that.
Ashampoo Uninstaller 5 is a commercial software remover for the Windows operating system. The program ships with two main features when it comes to uninstalling software, and a set of additional tools that are offered on top of that.
Installation monitoring is probably the most interesting feature of the program. The uninstaller can create a detailed log of changes made to the system during the installation of software. Note that you need to enable the monitoring first on the overview page.
Once you have enabled the monitoring of application installations, you will notice a few things when you install new programs on your system. You will first notice that an onscreen toolbar is displayed by Ashampoo Uninstaller whenever you do that. It displays the elapsed time, the file writes and the Registry modifications made by the installer.
You will also get a system tray notification when the installation completes that displays stats about the process. The installation is then displayed in the program window under recent installations, and in the log files tab of the window as well. When you switch to that menu, you will notice that you can display all system modifications a selected program made to the Windows system during installation. This is not only quite useful for troubleshooting purposes, but may also be handy if you want to make sure that the installation did not tamper with any important system files or data.
A simple example where this can help is the installation of toolbars or other adware during software installations as it reveals where the toolbar has made its mark on the system. There is however no option to delete select files or Registry keys only, which means that you need to do that manually on the system after all. File and Registry changes can be imported and exported in the log files view, which may be useful for safe keeping or further analysis.
The uninstaller itself displays the list of installed programs on the system. To uninstall a program, select it from the list and hit the uninstall button afterwards. You can only select one program at a time that you want to uninstall. It would have been useful if you could queue up uninstallations to save some time. As it stands now, you can only select on uninstallation at a time. A search form is available to filter installations, useful if you are looking for a particular program and do not want to browse the full catalog. You can furthermore filter installations by logged, unlogged, corrupt or incorrectly installed.
The group feature is quite interesting. You can create groups and assign applications to them. These groups become available in the filter list improving the manageability of the listing. You can for instance create a test software group and move all applications that you test into it. This way, you always have an overview of programs that you have installed for testing purposes so that you can easily uninstall them again or move them to the list of regular applications. An option to hide select applications or groups from the listing would have been a nice addition though to make sure you do not accidentally delete the wrong application.
A click on uninstall triggers a new window where you can select whether you want to run the original uninstaller that shipped with the program. The option to scan for leftover files, folders and Registry keys is enabled by default, and if available, a silent uninstallation is selected that surpresses dialogs. Ashampoo Uninstaller will run a scan for leftover files after the uninstallation completes to make sure that no data of the program remains on the system.
The program uses a list of setup file names that it automatically recognizes as installers. You can add or remove entries in the settings to suite your own needs. Here you also find the ignore list that lists file names that won't be monitored and the security list, which limits the monitored setups to the processes listed within.
As mentioned earlier, Ashampoo has integrated a set of system tools into the uninstaller. The tools are described below:
Ashampoo Uninstaller is a useful program for Windows users who want to have full control over software installations and uninstallations on their system. The program shines when it comes to the uninstallation of logged applications as it is very thorough in this regard. It could use a few features here and there though that will make it more usable.
The integration of additional system tools is a nice add-on, but nothing that is really related to the program's core functionality. Ashampoo could change this in the future, for instance by combining features offered by the system tools with the uninstaller. The file wiping is just one example where this may come in handy.
Ashampoo gave us ten Uninstaller 5 licenses for a giveaway. If you are interested in the program, leave a comment below to be included in the drawing of winners. It would be nice if you would comment on your current uninstallation routine.
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